In W-2 form,

  1. I was wondering what is the relation between "Wages, tips, other compensation", "social security wages", "Medicare wages and tips" and "State wages, tips, etc"?
  2. I heard that "Wages, tips, other ompensation" is part of the gross pay subject to Federal income tax. Is it always the same as "State wages, tips, etc"? In my W-2 form, they are equal.
  3. Are "social security wages" and "Medicare wages and tips" parts of "Wages, tips, other compensation"? Where in federal tax 1040 form shall I report "social security wages" and "Medicare wages and tips" and their tax withheld?

Thanks and regards!

1 Answer 1


All of the "Wages" values are different ways of describing the same set of money. They can be different in the four boxes because the laws that govern what is and what is not taxable differ for different purposes.

"Wages..." and "State wages..." are meant for income tax purposes for your federal and state tax returns, respectively. They are usually the same, but can differ in some uncommon cases. Just report the first on your federal tax return, and the second on your state return (if any).

"Social security wages" and "Medicare wages" account for the same payments to you (or on your behalf) as the others, but according to the laws governing two kinds of taxes that are different from your income taxes. The values for them may be different because different things are included or excluded as being taxable for them.

The taxes for Social security and Medicare are not usually reported on your income tax return; what has been withheld is normally exactly the amount that should have been, neither more nor less. The only exception I know of is that you can have had excess Social security tax withheld, but only in unusual cases where you had multiple employers during the year. In that case, see the IRS information about how to get the excess social security tax back.

  • +1 for pointing out the exception, when one has too much social security withheld by holding two jobs. When one enters their multiple W2s in TurboTax it will take care of this excess and handle the forms. Commented Apr 17, 2011 at 0:47
  • Medicare wages are also reported on Form 8959 for those with gross wages greater than $200,000.
    – prl
    Commented Jan 20, 2018 at 16:40

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